Ecommerce sales from Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) topped $38 billion in 2020, and a huge chunk of those sales came from email marketing. In fact, one out of every eight email subscribers who opened an email during BFCM made a purchase.
There’s plenty of money to be made this BFCM, but if you want to tap into the momentum, you can’t just hit “send” and expect sales to flood in. BFCM Email marketing requires a balance of art and science to not only stand out among the flood of messages, but convert clicks into sales.
Your customers might have had their eyes on an item in your store for weeks or even months – now you have a 24-hour window to seal the deal. Not sure where to start? We compiled 5 data-backed tips to help you drive a profitable BFCM email campaign.
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1. Think beyond the standard site-wide sale
Online shoppers who use coupon codes spend 24% more than shoppers who don’t use them, according to Blippr. But here’s the catch: almost every brand will run a sale during BFCM.
It’s the most competitive day of the year for ecommerce brands, so if you want to stand out in your audience’s inbox, think beyond the usual “Use code CYBER15 to take 15% off your purchase.” Here are five ways to do that:
Include a free gift with every purchase
Throwing in an exclusive freebie with all orders during BFCM can get your audience more excited than a coupon code. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?
Take this offer from Herbivore Botanicals. They gave all their shoppers a mini version of their Rose Hibiscus Face Mist with the purchase of any full-sized face mask:
Buy one, get one (BOGO)
The name says it all: when customers buy an item, they get a deal on another. There are two ways to approach BOGO campaigns:
- Buy one, get one free
- Buy one, get one 50% off (or whatever percentage discount you choose)
Here’s an email from Sunwink. They ran a buy one, get one free campaign for their sparkling tonics:
Bundle products at a discounted price
Want to boost your average order value (AOV)? Offer a curated selection of products for a discounted price. Here’s an example from Mate, who bundled three t-shirts:
Rather than offering 20% off everything in your store (which may decrease your AOV), bundles can actually increase your AOV. For example, if your AOV is $30, but you bundle a few products for $75, you can offer a discount for that bundle and it will likely still be higher than your typical AOV.
Use tiered pricing to incentivize big orders
Another tactic to increase your AOV is tiered pricing. That means the more money a customer spends on your site, the bigger the discount you give them. Each discount tier has its own unique code.
Here’s an example we love from Riffraff, a women’s boutique (note their clever, holiday-themed promo codes like OMGSANTAIKNOWHIM50):
Don’t like discounts? Offer an exclusive product instead
If you’re like Allbirds and don’t believe discounts are right for your brand, you can still get in on the BFCM action. Consider offering an exclusive product for email subscribers to build buzz online. For example, Allbirds dropped a dessert-themed collection for a limited time during the holidays:
This tactic is especially useful for premium brands that don’t want their products to be perceived as “cheap.”
2. Add an Emoji to your subject line
Here’s an example from Death Wish Coffee. They used two emojis in their subject line for National Coffee Day:
Your customers’ inboxes will be jam-packed during BFCM, but an emoji might make the difference between your email getting deleted and converting a big purchase. Just make sure your emoji is relevant to your brand or the occasion. For example, if you sell nail polish, use the 💅 emoji.
It’s also worth noting that emojis can shorten subject lines so they fit on mobile devices. Pro tip: the portrait view on an iPhone shows 41 characters.
3. Generate a sense of urgency with a countdown clock
Some brands extend their sales indefinitely, which can cause people to procrastinate and browse around for other deals. But adding a countdown timer to your emails prompts people to act fast before your offer expires. That’s because it activates the scarcity heuristic: if something is rare, it must be valuable.
Check out this countdown timer from Glossier:
If you add a countdown clock to your email, keep these three tips in mind:
- Be honest about the timeline. If you say your offer expires in 24 hours, but the deal is still there three days later, that erodes trust with your audience.
- Keep your offer clear and simple. Don’t force your audience to read more than they need to.
- Put your call to action (CTA) near the timer to reinforce the urgency.
4. Set up abandoned cart emails
With all the deals and discounts floating around your customers’ inboxes, it’s easy for them to forget about your product – even if they added it to their shopping cart. Missing out on those sales can be costly, but you can salvage them with abandoned cart emails.
In 2020, automated cart abandonment emails on Cyber Monday had a conversion rate of 49.2%, according to Omnisend. That means nearly half of shoppers who were reminded about an item in their shopping cart ended up following through with the purchase.
Manually reminding customers would be a nightmare...that’s why Privy’s abandoned cart emails are automatically sent whenever your customers leave your site before checking out.
For Black Friday Cyber Monday, think about sending 1 email an hour after a customer leaves your site so you're still top of mind.
You can also add 1-2 more cart abandonment emails if it makes sense for your store.
These little reminders can make a big difference in your bottom line.
5. Segment your audience for maximum engagement
Unlike a static email subscriber list, segmented email lists group subscribers by predefined conditions like “new customers,” “highly engaged subscribers,” or “big spenders.” The main advantage of audience segmentation is that it lets you send custom messages to each group.
When everyone’s inboxes are especially crowded, this can make a huge difference – and there’s data to back it up. Marketers that use segmented campaigns have found a 760% increase in email revenue, according to Campaign Monitor.
For example, Forever 21 rewarded their “VIP” customers with an exclusive 25% off sale:
You don’t have to be an ecommerce expert to segment your email subscribers. With Privy Newsletters, you can go into your dashboard and group your email list based on simple attributes like “Last Order Date” and “Total Lifetime Spend.”
Own the inbox this BFCM
Brands have sent more than 100 million emails in previous years, according to Campaign Monitor, and you can expect inboxes to be just as packed this year. Although they're only getting crazier.
Between the intense competition and tight timeline, BFCM email marketing can be intimidating for small and growing ecommerce brands.
And while there isn't an exact blueprint for BFCM success, a compelling offer and clever copy, will have you well on your way.